I have seen several smaller canoe companies go this way specifically for the reasons stated. I know of 1 former large canoe company that was put under for trying to do business through a major retailer. (Sawyer). In a different forum I would lay out a lot more information but I don't think folks running this one want it.
wouldn't it be interesting if suddenly REI started to carry Warbonnets! Yeah I doubt it to but wouldn't that be supreme justice.
Of course REI carries ENO hammocks.
Go Your Own Way
"only the paranoid survive" - Andy Grove, Intel
Search engines are your friend. Use "Site:hammockforums.net" in your search string.
In order to have a successful relationship there has to be enough sales to justify the shelf space. They need to sell it and he would need to make it. Setting up to do that volume production is a different skill set than making and selling your own product. By the time you allow for margins there has to be a large increase in sales so a large increase in manufacturing capacity just to keep making the same income as one can make selling something like 1/5 to 1/10 as much product via direct sales. Those numbers are probably off, it may be more.
I'm not trying to be judgmental or controversial but one also has to figure in competition. The barriers to competition are patents and high dollar investment in the physical plant. Patents are expensive and relatively hard to come by. Anybody not in those category's that gets their price structure up too high finds another cottage supplier can start grabbing market share. Get a couple of them and the big guy is in trouble as volume drops below sustainable levels. There are many areas where that is easy to do. What's it cost to go into the Hammock business? ;-)
"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy." -D'Signore's, Tide Mill Farm, Edmunds, Maine.
I think we ought to be happy that hammocking is a niche market and set of users. If hangers start showing up everywhere, then the other kind of tree huggers will be out in force. Parks will start planting 4 x 4's in nice neat rows for us to hang from in between the RV parking and the outhouses, etc.